Claudette hits Florida; Ana approaches Puerto RIco; Bill becomes our first hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:10 PM GMT on August 17, 2009

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Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall at about 1:15 am EDT near the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, just southeast of Fort Walton Beach in Florida. Claudette's top winds were around 50 mph. A Personal Weather Station in Eastpoint, FL recorded sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 66 mph last night. So far, the rain from Claudette has had a tough time penetrating inland (Figure 2). Heavy rains of 3 - 4 inches have been confined to a narrow strip of coast, and Claudette is unlikely to cause any major flooding. Apalachicola received just over 4 inches of rain so far from Claudette. Radar animations out of the Florida Panhandle show that heavy rains continue along the coast in association with a main spiral band of Claudette, and these rains will gradually subside today.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of Tropical Storm Claudette as it approached landfall just southeast of Fort Walton Beach shortly after midnight on 8/17/09.

The tropics featured a rare triple threat the past two days--simultaneous named storms beginning with the letters A, B, and C. The last time this occurred was in the slow-starting 1984 hurricane season, when Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha, and Cesar were all active on September 1. This year's A, B, and C storms all got their names in just a 33 hour span. This is not a record, since in 1995, three tropical storms--Humberto, Iris, and Jerry--got their names in a 27-hour span (thanks to NOAA's Ryan Sharp for looking up this stat).


Figure 2. Total precipitation estimated by radar for Claudette, as of 3:28pm EDT 8/17/09.

Ana not dead yet
Tropical Depression Ana continues to cling to life, and is now approaching landfall in Puerto Rico. Radar animations from the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar show a surface circulation just southeast of the island, with some low-level spiral banding trying to develop to the south. Recent satellite images also show a rejuvenation of the heavy thunderstorm activity near Ana's center, as the storm regroups from being nearly torn apart yesterday. Ana has already dumped up to 4 inches of rain along the north coast of Puerto Rico, according to radar-estimates.

It is unlikely that Ana will survive past today, however, since the storm will move over both Puerto Rico and the rugged terrain of Hispaniola. The high mountains of these islands should act to disrupt the relatively small and fragile circulation of Ana. None of the computer models foresee that Ana will survive passage over Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic can expect 3 - 6 inches of rain from Ana, and Haiti can expect 1 - 3 inches.


Figure 3. Total precipitation estimated by radar from Ana for Puerto Rico.

Bill becomes the first Atlantic hurricane of 2009
Hurricane Bill continues to gather strength, and is now the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. An eye has appeared on visible and infrared satellite imagery, and Bill is displaying an impressive symmetry, with plenty of low-level spiral banding.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to be in the low range through Wednesday. With Sea Surface Temperatures only 27°C today, substantial intensification may not occur until Tuesday and Wednesday, when SSTs warm to 28 - 29°C and ocean heat content sharply increases. By Thursday, Bill is expected to leave the favorable upper-level wind environment it currently finds itself in, and moderate shear of 15 - 20 knots may limit further intensification.

Water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is a modest trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere near 50°W longitude, that Bill is currently approaching. All of the computer models except the UKMET predict that this trough will be strong enough to turn Bill more to the northwest so that the hurricane misses the Lesser Antilles Islands. The UKMET predicts the trough will not affect Bill much, and that the hurricane will pass through or just north of the islands on Thursday. For now, the UKMET solution is being discounted, since the trough at 50W appears substantial enough on satellite imagery to be able to turn Bill more to the northwest.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill even more to the northwest. Most of the models predict Bill will pass very close to Bermuda on Saturday as a result. The HWRF model predicts Bermuda will receive a direct hit at Category 4 strength. Until Bill interacts with the small trough at 50°W, it is too early to be confident of the potential threat to Bermuda. By Tuesday, we should have a much better idea of the threat. Likewise, I would like to see the UKMET model come around in line with the other models before dismissing the possible threat to the U.S. East Coast. It currently appears that Bill will miss the U.S. East Coast, but that a strike on the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia is possible.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning, or possibly this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting serialteg:


lol

hey hurricanefcaster... i ain't as touchy as other ppl around here, no need to worry (about what you said when you first quoted me).

im planning on taking my first met classes in january, as im applying for computer engineering college and there is an associate's degree in meteorology.

im passionate about this - and i think you are, too!

thanks for your info.

Oh really? That's cool! Should be an interesting associate's! Yes, I am absolutely passionate, I've had a passion for weather since about the 6th grade, and had decided to study it by about 8th or 9th. :)
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:
Okay. I used my crappy computer "handwriting" and ms paint to show those of you who wish to see it, what exactly is currently forecast to happen with Bill's future track



Thanks for the insight. I normally just lurk but since you combined Meteorology with John Maddens' presentation skills, I couldn't help but jump on here. You explained it in a manner old "unedumecated" folks like me can understand. With interest on the Gulf and East Coast it is appreciated. Again, Thanks
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Quoting ackee:
at what latitude do u become concern about the leeward if bill is still moveing west ?

Well Bill is moving WNW as we speak and has already reached 15N, therefore even if it were to continue its current motion it would miss the leeward islands. It would have to take an actual turn towards the west for anyone to become concerned with an impact to the leewards, and a turn towards the west isn't meteorologically logical (No pun intended) at this point, so I wouldn't be very concerned.
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Quoting ackee:
at what latitude do u become concern about the leeward if bill is still moveing west ?


im still concerned, but ... i believe that ridge has to move east if bill has any chance of threatening our islands.

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The latest EUMETSAT shows the center has shifted north.
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Thanks HurricaneFCast! Super explanation :) NOW I can see it...and finally go to bed.
Nite all
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Quoting chucky7777:
Thanks to all the late night Owls, you have cleared the picture for me regarding the ridge and the weakness and what is going to turn Bill.This is the best information I have received on this blog all day.........ok back to lurking and feeding off everyone's intellects. lol


lol

hey hurricanefcaster... i ain't as touchy as other ppl around here, no need to worry (about what you said when you first quoted me).

im planning on taking my first met classes in january, as im applying for computer engineering college and there is an associate's degree in meteorology.

im passionate about this - and i think you are, too!

thanks for your info.
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3717. ackee
Quoting HurricaneFCast:
Okay. I used my crappy computer "handwriting" and ms paint to show those of you who wish to see it, what exactly is currently forecast to happen with Bill's future track.


Here you see the two areas of high pressure. You also see the mysterious "weakness".







Here you see that the weakness will erode the eastern portion of the western area of high pressure, allowing Bill to turn towards the north-west and eventually the north.

That is only what is currently forecast, things can change, but it actually looks as if the weakness has begun to have an effect on the subtropical ridge, as in the last 3-hour update of the Layer Mean Wind analysis, the subtropical ridge was moved slightly westward. We'll have to see if this continues.
at what latitude do u become concern about the leeward if bill is still moveing west ?
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Thanks to all the late night Owls, you have cleared the picture for me regarding the ridge and the weakness and what is going to turn Bill.This is the best information I have received on this blog all day.........ok back to lurking and feeding off everyone's intellects. lol
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Okay. I used my crappy computer "handwriting" and ms paint to show those of you who wish to see it, what exactly is currently forecast to happen with Bill's future track.


Here you see the two areas of high pressure. You also see the mysterious "weakness".







Here you see that the weakness will erode the eastern portion of the western area of high pressure, allowing Bill to turn towards the north-west and eventually the north.

That is only what is currently forecast, things can change, but it actually looks as if the weakness has begun to have an effect on the subtropical ridge, as in the last 3-hour update of the Layer Mean Wind analysis, the subtropical ridge was moved slightly westward. We'll have to see if this continues.
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3714. GatorWX
Quoting serialteg:


i suppose that suspect degraded program isn't on the gator's side of the field...?


uhh, that's a negative.
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I keep getting kicked offline because my ISP is a POS. Thanks for the links and the feedback y'all. Goodnight everyone. :)
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3712. jpsb
WV Water Vapor
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Quoting GatorWX:


Used to be, but since the degradation in one of the aforementioned programs, not much reason to really consider it a rivalry. Plus, the two schools haven't been meeting each other lately. Any team in FL is a rival however.


i suppose that suspect degraded program isn't on the gator's side of the field...?
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Quoting jpsb:
Thanks serialteg, my untrained eye doesn't see much on WV but at least now I know what we are all waiting on. Thanks again.


whats WV?

don't worry, i think this is the first time in two days i've been able to have an answer to my doubts and questions on the ridge weakness!

this darn thing becomes too hectic, and i believe sometimes full of kids...

this is a good hour for it :)
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3709. GatorWX
Quoting serialteg:


the U!

aren't the U and the Gators rivals? hmm ...



Used to be, but since the degradation in one of the aforementioned programs, not much reason to really consider it a rivalry. Plus, the two schools haven't been meeting each other lately. Any team in FL is a rival however.
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3708. jpsb
Thanks serialteg, my untrained eye doesn't see much on WV but at least now I know what we are all waiting on. Thanks again.
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Quoting serialteg:


the U!

aren't the U and the Gators rivals? hmm ...


Yep, they sure are! :)

Here, let me use my sloppy handwriting and MS paint to show you all visually what is "forecast" to happen with Bill and the High pressure areas. Give me a few minutes.
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Well I've been around since 06' and have had a couple of different screen names, of which I don't remember my original, lol! I do major in meteorology, and I currently attend the University of Miami. I'm a 3rd-year student.


the U!

aren't the U and the Gators rivals? hmm ...

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Quoting serialteg:


i thought the erosion was already happening just to the right of the ridge, practically on top of bill. at least i believe nhc has been calling it out on past advisories "a weakness in 50W" then "53W in the ridge" something of that nature

the nhc says it'll be a day at least until the real nw turn hits i believe


Yes, there is a small weakness along ~51W, but it currently has not been strong enough to erode the ridge to its west. It is forecast to strengthen, erode a large portion of the ridge to its west(essentially the eastern part of the ridge should be eroded), allowing Bill to turn more NW and N between the two areas of High Pressure in the North-East Atlantic.
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3704. GatorWX
Quoting KoritheMan:


Agreed. However, in the unlikely (read: very unlikely) event that it makes it into the vicinity of Florida, and traverses the very warm Gulf Stream, the longwave trough could conceivably generate a poleward outflow channel by ventilating the northern side of the circulation, possibly allowing rapid intensification, and then a high end Category 4, or even a weak Category 5, would be possible.

That is just speculation on my part though, but trough interactions have been known to rapidly intensify hurricanes (i.e. Charley).


For sure, we saw this very clearly with Felicica when she was rapidly intensifying.
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Quoting jpsb:
Oh thanks, So that is why 456 is waiting on Bill to get to 55W, I asked but never got an answer (I think he is kinda busy) is there anyway to check and see if the ridge is in fact weak at 55W?


well, i guess we have some capable folks online here tonite that can answer our questions better than I can, i believe!

but if you watch the image you'll see that there's a sort of hole on top of bill, not the big ol' circle that's on the left of it. I guess that's the weakness... and maybe the erosion is the green spots starting to show on the right ridge itself.
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thanks both for your help.
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Quoting GatorWX:


I agree 100%, I don't think it'll encounter high enough ocean heat content to ever become a 5, but a low 4 seems completely reasonable.


Agreed. However, in the unlikely (read: very unlikely) event that it makes it into the vicinity of Florida, and traverses the very warm Gulf Stream, the longwave trough could conceivably generate a poleward outflow channel by ventilating the northern side of the circulation, possibly allowing rapid intensification, and then a high end Category 4, or even a weak Category 5, would be possible.

That is just speculation on my part though, but trough interactions have been known to rapidly intensify hurricanes (i.e. Charley).
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3700. KRL
NRL MultiSat Stitched Atlantic Basin 20090818.0000 (click to enlarge)

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3699. ackee
when do we start worry in leeward ISland when is bill expected to start moveing NW
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Quoting GatorWX:


How long have you been on here? I've been here since the '06 season. Most newer people don't seem to really have a good grasp on meteorology, especially the youger folks, but you seem to know your stuff. Going to school for it?

Well I've been around since 06' and have had a couple of different screen names, of which I don't remember my original, lol! I do major in meteorology, and I currently attend the University of Miami. I'm a 3rd-year student.
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3697. jpsb
Quoting serialteg:


i thought the erosion was already happening just to the right of the ridge, practically on top of bill. at least i believe nhc has been calling it out on past advisories "a weakness in 50W" then "53W in the ridge" something of that nature

the nhc says it'll be a day at least until the real nw turn hits i believe

Oh thanks, So that is why 456 is waiting on Bill to get to 55W, I asked but never got an answer (I think he is kinda busy) is there anyway to check and see if the ridge is in fact weak at 55W?
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3696. GatorWX
Quoting KoritheMan:


I think the NHC forecast track is a reasonable one. I'm still with the recurvature crowd, though I am seeing a possibility that Bill could move much further west than initially thought prior to recurvature. East Coast needs to really watch this.

Intensity wise, I think the GFDL is too aggressive (though it typically is, so no surprise there), and I think the NHC also has the intensity spot on, based on the latest 200 mb wind forecast. However, I am slightly higher than the NHC, and forecast a low-end Category 4.


I agree 100%, I don't think it'll encounter high enough ocean heat content to ever become a 5, but a low 4 seems completely reasonable.
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Quoting THUNDERPR:
is posibble that bill miss the weaknes?


i guess thats why they always mention the "outlier model to the west" for all these past advisories...

each year, i learn more about this stuff. crazy about going to met school in january (colegio mayaguez)!
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Quoting THUNDERPR:
is posibble that bill miss the weaknes?

He wouldn't "miss" it, but I suppose you could say it is possible that the weakness may not be as strong as forecast, and it could not affect him as much as forecast, leading to a more westerly track. However, that is just in the *possible* realm, not the *likely* realm. Let's remember that before we predict something outlandish and unlikely. It is still likely that Bill will remain off the U.S. coastline, although it does appear as it will be closer than originally forecast. Essentially: stay tuned. We'll know more tomorrow night.
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GFS and ECMWF forecast a low pressure area to develop in association with a tropical wave near the Cape Verde Islands in about 8 days. Long way out to be sure, but the CMC has also been hinting at something in that general area in that general timeframe over the last couple days, albeit not consistently.

ECMWF also nailed Bill's recurvature even when most of the other reliable models were initially very tightly clustered on a WNW path.

Something to watch, to be sure.
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3692. GatorWX
Quoting HurricaneFCast:

True, if you view them as they are they do show a western motion. However, that strong subtropical ridge is forecast to erode, allowing Bill to turn to a more NW motion, and eventually within 2-3 days, a trough exiting the U.S. coast is forecast to interact with Bill wherein he should be lifted to a more Northerly track before being taken towards the Northeast.


How long have you been on here? I've been here since the '06 season. Most newer people don't seem to really have a good grasp on meteorology, especially the youger folks, but you seem to know your stuff. Going to school for it?
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

True, if you view them as they are they do show a western motion. However, that strong subtropical ridge is forecast to erode, allowing Bill to turn to a more NW motion, and eventually within 2-3 days, a trough exiting the U.S. coast is forecast to interact with Bill wherein he should be lifted to a more Northerly track before being taken towards the Northeast.


i thought the erosion was already happening just to the right of the ridge, practically on top of bill. at least i believe nhc has been calling it out on past advisories "a weakness in 50W" then "53W in the ridge" something of that nature

the nhc says it'll be a day at least until the real nw turn hits i believe

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Quoting serialteg:


ok ok i see what you mean ... thunder PR the site is here, the images you need to watch are the ones that go according to the millibars on the storm. each image on the page has a millibar rating below its link. am i right hurricanefcast?

well, what do you think

is that the so-talked about weakness?

if that thing on the left gets on top of bill watch out?

Absolutely, you want to view the layer of which the pressure of the system matches. Right now Bill has a minimum central pressure of 967, therefore you want to view the layer (300-850mb) that matches the Tropical Cyclone's MSLP(Mean Sea Level Pressure) range, which is 950-969.
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is posibble that bill miss the weaknes?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Morning Korthie! Your thoughts on Bill today?


I think the NHC forecast track is a reasonable one. I'm still with the recurvature crowd, though I am seeing a possibility that Bill could move much further west than initially thought prior to recurvature. East Coast needs to really watch this.

Intensity wise, I think the GFDL is too aggressive (though it typically is, so no surprise there), and I think the NHC also has the intensity spot on, based on the latest 200 mb wind forecast. However, I am slightly higher than the NHC, and forecast a low-end Category 4.
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Quoting THUNDERPR:
serialteg bill look ugly for us and the nothern leward islands if continue moving wnw.


lets see what happens, i think people would actually like that after ana's fiasco... all the info i was taking in from ana before coming to PR was that we were gonna feel up to 50mph winds... and even worse because she was coming from the south. all ponce felt was a nice template day with dark clouds and some mr. beldevere showers.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
Both of those steering layers show west. Hopefully he feels that weakness.

True, if you view them as they are they do show a western motion. However, that strong subtropical ridge is forecast to erode, allowing Bill to turn to a more NW motion, and eventually within 2-3 days, a trough exiting the U.S. coast is forecast to interact with Bill wherein he should be lifted to a more Northerly track before being taken towards the Northeast.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
GFDL still insists on taking Bill to near Category 5 status.


Morning Korthie! Your thoughts on Bill today?
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3683. njdevil
so... am I out of line in that I think I could be just inside the 5 day cone of uncertainty in a few days? which is a little, um, unusual.
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Lol, indeed it is. I just try my best to steer clear of the arguments and use disclaimers to let people know that I'm NOT trying to jump down anyone's throat if I correct someone.. I'm just trying to help keep the blog accurate and less-comprised of wishcasts, misconceptions, etc..

As for Bill's steering layer, here it is:


ok ok i see what you mean ... thunder PR the site is here, the images you need to watch are the ones that go according to the millibars on the storm. each image on the page has a millibar rating below its link. am i right hurricanefcast?

well, what do you think

is that the so-talked about weakness?

if that thing on the left gets on top of bill watch out?
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GFDL still insists on taking Bill to near Category 5 status.
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thanks.
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Quoting THUNDERPR:
hi hurricanefcast in what place im see that image of the 300-850 steering thanks for your help.

Anytime! Here's the link:
CIMSS Layer Mean Wind Analyses
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serialteg bill look ugly for us and the nothern leward islands if continue moving wnw.
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Both of those steering layers show west. Hopefully he feels that weakness.
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Some Rita outcomes to music.

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hi hurricanefcast in what place im see that image of the 300-850 steering thanks for your help.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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